I currently take anti-anxiety medication, something else for panic attacks and another load of dope for another health issue that I don't care to reveal at the moment. (You don't need to know and it's neither exciting nor front-bottom related.)
Here's my question: should it be okay for my dentist to say to me "I take it you aren't on the Seroxat (Paxil) any more!" and then giggle as if she just told a really good joke? I felt really embarrassed and at that moment I didn't know why. Quick as a flash I answered "actually I am." She responded a bit sheepishly with "20mg?" I answered "30mg. I am, in fact, quite insane." She wrote it all in my notes and got on with the check up.
So, anyway, I know the answer to my own question. It wasn't okay for her to make an assumption, joke about it and make me feel ashamed of the medication that I need. But why did I have to try and be funny about it? First off, I wasn't sure why she made the comment. Has she seen the bad press that surrounds paroxetine and assumed that no-one takes it any more? Has she looked at my notes and calculated the length of time I have been on the tablets and assumed I ought to be "cured" by now? What prompted the question and the giggle?
Secondly, was there any way I could have responded to that comment without irreparably damaging the otherwise excellent relationship that I have with her? I love my dentist. She has coaxed me into more and better dental healthcare and she is still NHS. She has always been caring and sensitive and this was totally out of character for her. My gut feeling is that she will have noted the exchange and felt quite silly about it. I hope so. This is one of those conversations that I really don't want to have.
I suppose what I'm really asking is, "Why am I ashamed of my mental health status?". I'm a bit shocked that it was such a sore point. I thought I was beyond that kind of thinking. Turns out maybe I'm not.